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Case 76

Myong's Cat

Unix master Myong was told of a stray cat that had taken up residence in the operations hall, sleeping in the server cabinets and napping atop the ancient CRTs for warmth. The situation had grown objectionable when the creature began using a crate of spare cables as a litterbox.

Myong captured the cat and placed it on a table before six monks of the Clan of Iron Bones, saying, “If each of you can speak a command line which performs the same function as cat, I will spare this animal. If not, I will kill it.”

The first monk quickly said, “cat”.

The second said, “grep ^”.

The third said, “sed s/^//”.

The fourth said, “tr x x <”.

The fifth said, “perl -pe 0”.

The sixth wracked his brains for a full minute, then hung his head in shame.

Myong held the cat gently by the scruff of its neck and raised his knife, whereupon the sixth monk barked like a dog as loud as he could. The cat shot out of the master’s grip in terror and disappeared down the hallway.

Myong glared at the sixth monk.

“Same function,” said the sixth monk calmly.